David Kenney and his family were visiting friends near Brisbane, Australia, when their 9-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, Leala, came running up to the house soaking wet. She was barking and appeared frantic, so David followed her. She took him to a nearby dam.
When they got there, David saw something that made him go cold. His two-year-old son, Alexander, was floating face down in the water.
“It was what I wished not to see,” David said, “it was a mixture of disbelief, horror, and sadness, it was indescribable really, but then everything was a blur.”
David and his friends, Jason and Joshua Cluff, performed CPR on the boy for 27 minutes until the paramedics arrived. Finally, they were able to restart his heart, but they didn’t know if the boy would make it.
Lisa Brockbank, Alexander’s mother, was on her way back to the house when an ambulance raced past her. She was curious about what was going on, but nothing could have prepared her for what she found.
“I didn’t think it was my kid,” she said. “I didn’t think it had anything to do with us, and then I came to [see] a helicopter in the sky and the whole place just alive with police and ambulances and my son just lying there completely comatose.”
Members of the Westpac Rescue helicopter team pulled Lisa aside and told her the horrible news.
“They pulled me aside and told me this is as bad as it gets, there’s not a lot of hope, you should prepare for the worst possible outcome,” she recalled.
With his little life in the balance, Alexander was airlifted to Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Hospital. He was admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and put into an induced coma.
“The doctors said, ‘Be prepared, you may not be taking this boy home, and if you do take him home he’ll probably have some brain damage,’” Lisa recalled. “From a parent’s point of view, it doesn’t get much worse.”
Amazingly, though, Alexander beat the odds against him, surprising hospital staff and his parents with his miraculous recovery. Within 48 hours, doctors brought the tot out of his induced coma and, soon after, he was able to breathe on his own.
But it was his first words after waking up that melted the hearts of all the PICU staff.
“The thing that I think got everyone was that he wanted kisses, that was the first thing he wanted – he wanted kisses off us,” David said.
“It was quite miraculous that he came back so soon and so clear and fine and unchanged.”